What are the costs of operating a home?

So, you’ve figured out that you can afford to buy a home, but can you afford to maintain a home? Before you make the biggest purchase of your life, make sure you understand the cost of operating a home. If you’ve been renting all this time, the figures may surprise you.


What are operating costs? Operating costs are the costs associated with keeping your home running and comfortable year round. These costs include water, hydro, natural gas any other fuel sources your home uses, such as oil or propane. The total of all the monthly bills that come in over the year are your operating costs.


When you are searching for a home, if you know you’d like to keep these costs low over the long term, tell you real estate agent that you’d like to look at energy efficient homes. The most costly operating costs are related to heating and cooling.



Here are some energy-saving tips courtesy of Toronto Hydro:

  • Keep all your exterior doors tightly shut and try to avoid frequent in-and-out traffic. Padded door runners help reduce drafts under doorways.
  • Lower your thermostat by one degree to save as much as three per cent of the energy your furnace uses during the winter months. For the average electrically heated detached house built before 1990, that could be a savings of approximately $73.39 per year.
  • Keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during sunny days to allow the sunlight to enter and heat your home. Keep them closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel around cold windows.
  • Wrap your windows with plastic. Twenty-five per cent of a home’s heat is lost through windows and this low-cost option can reduce this loss by 50 per cent.
  • Adjust your thermostat. Recommended thermostat settings for a comfortable environment during the winter months are:

–  21.0C (70.0F) when you are home relaxing
–  18.0C (64.50F) when you are sleeping, and
–  15.0C (59.0F) when you are away from your home for an extended period of time.

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